Catering to shoppers who expect omnichannel convenience is increasingly important in today’s highly competitive and fast-changing retail environment. A strong O2O (online to offline) presence delivers more lifetime value than a single strategy. It allows for better customer experiences and drives greater brand loyalty and share of wallet.
Indicators point to a rapid decline in brick-and-mortar retail, but new trends show that in-person shopping has actually grown. According to PwC’s “Global Consumer Insights Survey,” weekly store visits increased to 44 percent in 2018 from 40 percent in 2015. Research from the IHL Group shows that 4,000 more stores opened than closed among the big chains in 2017.
Why is analog shopping — going into a store and browsing and purchasing in person — seeing an uptick? According to PwC, it’s likely shoppers are seeking a more sensory and social experience that can’t be found online. This is why Nike built its House Of Innovation 000 in New York City. The six-floor shopping experience, where the promise of “living retail” comes to life, covers more than 68,000 square feet in Midtown Manhattan. Each floor features personal and interactive spaces where consumers can get customized services that are more experiential than transactional.
Omnichannel technology isn’t used only in consumer sales. Forrester forecasts that U.S. B2B e-commerce will reach $1.8 trillion or 17 percent of all B2B sales by 2023. Major corporations — including General Motors, Chevron and Ford — have enhanced their B2B e-commerce presence to help increase sales and improve operations. These brands are leveraging e-catalogs and websites to sell accessories, parts and other products, while stocking small showrooms with best-selling items to provide a curated experience.
The latest innovations and a powerful technology infrastructure can make this unique shopping experience possible. For example, via the Nike App, customers can select products, personalize them with feature choices, get in-store availability and even add items to a virtual shopping bag that’s linked to a tablet device — so store associates can take the items to a dressing room or the checkout area.
Keeping up with the pace of technology and O2O innovation is challenging. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you launch or refine your omnichannel retail commerce strategy to gain a unique customer experience and competitive advantage:
Starting with an assessment of your current tools and needs, Nortal’s team of IT and e-commerce experts provide customized development and implementation, open-source software solutions and sourcing, and optional enterprise cloud management and extended support as required.
Brands that use technology and data for personalized customer experiences increase revenue by 6 to 10 percent, which is two to three times faster than those that don’t, according to a Boston Consulting Group survey.
No doubt, innovation and technology will continue to play an increasingly important part in how retailers meet the ever-changing demands of omnichannel shoppers. Focusing on who your customers are, what they want — and where, when and how they want it delivered — will help you deliver the best customer experience possible, no matter the channel. Contact us to start implementing your omnichannel strategy today.